Wednesday 7 December 2016

Roy Keane: We’ve been down this road before – As long as it’s not Saipan we’re okay!

Published 16/11/2015 | 22:43

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane hailed the Irish squad after qualifying for Euro 2016 and insisted the players will do the country proud next summer in France.

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A 2-0 win over Bosnia secured Ireland’s passage to Euro 2016 with a 3-1 aggregate score line and believes the fighting spirit in Martin O’Neill’s side has been key to achieving their qualification goal.

“We hung in there with disappointments along the way, including Scotland. Players showed great fighting spirit,” he said.

“We’re always looking for a bit more quality and retaining the ball a little better, but I suppose that’s the history of Irish football.

Ireland's striker Jonathan Walters (C) celebrates after scoring his team's first goal from a penalty
Ireland's striker Jonathan Walters (C) celebrates after scoring his team's first goal from a penalty
Jon Walters of Republic of Ireland celebrates after he scoring from the penalty spot during the Euro 2016 play-off second leg match between the Republic of Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Aviva Stadium
Jon Walters #14 of the Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium
Jon Walters (R)of the Republic of Ireland is congratulated by teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium
Jon Walters of the Republic of Ireland controls the ball under pressure from Sead Kolasinac of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium
Jon Walters #14 of the Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters celebrates scoring their first goal Reuters / Cathal McNaughton
16 November 2015; Darren Randolph, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Haris Medunjanin, Bosnia and Herzegovina. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Edin Deko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in action against Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Miralem Pjanic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in action against James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Ciaran Clark, 12, Republic of Ireland, makes a defensive headder under pressure from Bosnia and Herzegovina. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill celebrates after Jonathan Walters scored his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
i16 November 2015; Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Edin Cocalic, Bosnia and Herzegovina. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, in action against Sead Kolainac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Supporters cheer as members of the Republic of Ireland team celebrate after Jonathan Walters scored their side's first goal from a penalty. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Jonathan Walters, 14, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal from a penalty with team-mate Daryl Murphy. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Jonathan Walters, right, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal from a penalty with team-mate Daryl Murphy. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Senad Lulic (rear) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Ognjen Vranjes (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters (right) has a chance saved by Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (left) during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy and Bosnia & Herzegovina's Ervin Zukanovic Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic
Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Emir Spahic (left) battle for the ball in the air during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
General view as players and fans pause during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith
Seamus Coleman of the Republic of Ireland is tackled by Senad Lulic of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Edin Deko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in action against James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters scores their first goal with a penalty Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith Livepic
A Republic of Ireland supporter ahead of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Ognjen Vranjes (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Robert Brady (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Edin Cocalic (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic saves an attempt on goal by Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Ognjen Vranjes (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland fans Shane Peppard (centre) with his son Clayton, aged 9, (left) and nephew Sean, 12, from Clondalkin during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium. Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
Republic of Ireland's Richard Keogh and Ciaran Clark as Bosnia & Herzegovina's Haris Medunjanin looks dejected after missing a chance to score Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic
Bosnia & Herzegovina's Haris Medunjanin looks dejected after missing a chance to score Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic
Bosnia & Herzegovina's Haris Medunjanin looks dejected after missing a chance to score Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic
Republic of Ireland's players during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic

“We’ve always found that difficult, but the fight and determination we showed out there tonight under lots of pressure. We hung in and credit to the players, they did the country proud.

“Without desire and hunger you are going to come up short. At least we have that. There’s parts of the game we’d like a bit more quality, but the players deserve massive credit.”

Jon Walters, who Keane managed during his time at Ipswich Town, was the goal scoring hero and the forward’s work ethic was singled out for special praise.

“His work rate is fantastic. He’s a great example to the other players. The fact he got the two goals is a great bonus for him.I know Jon is going to grab the headlines and rightly so, the hardest part of football is putting the ball in the back of the net and he’s done that, but he’s had the support behind.”

Martin O'Neill the manager of the Republic of Ireland reacts during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match
Martin O'Neill the manager of the Republic of Ireland reacts during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match

The Boys in Green will hope to banish the memories of a hugely disappointing campaign in Ukraine and Poland four years ago, with Keane critical of performances as thousands of Irish fans travelled to support their team, famously saying: “We’re no t here for the sing-song”.

The assistant manager says the players won’t be getting carried away and even referenced his highly controversial departure from the Ireland World Cup squad in 2002.

“We’ve been down this road before.  As long as we’re not in Saipan we’re okay,” he joked.

“We’ll cross that bridge. Tonight is just about the players, to enjoy it. We’ll reflect on it over the next few days.

“We obviously don’t want to go over there just to make up the numbers. We’ll go over there to do the country proud.”

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